Monday, 11 April 2016

Neil Wins the Lovelo Road Race

Well that's the suspense gone then. Rather a lot of excitement surrounding this new event. A direct result of the new Central Road Race League, the race draws together a lot of local clubs and there was quite a bit of 'hype' leading up to it given organiser Nick Clarke's undisputed enthusiasm and attention to detail; not to mention the fact that this man appears to be the single biggest user of social media on Planet Earth....
early doors, take it easy. Please.
Both hands on the bars Baynesy, both hands on the bars

Chilly start, one or two surreptitious conversations in the HQ and off they went. Two riders for the first half, two for the second. Except of course, road racing never goes to plan. Especially when Neil gets the heebeegeebees about gravel, turns and 3-4 races. Paranoid. So he decided to nip off the front on both downhill bends for the early laps, confusing things generally, but  you can't be too careful. Apparently.

Sitting on your hands is never easy in a bike race; it can cause difficulties with steering amongst other things. The team were however, uncharacteristically measured and patient, allowing other teams a bit of space to stretch their legs in the early stages whilst other teams chased the leg - stretchers down. On the whole, it was pretty typical of a Regional B race where no-one is generally ballsy enough to commit to a full - blooded attack but most are happy to bury themselves as they pull back any attempted escapes.

King of the (admittedly not large) Mountain
The predictable pattern was, however,  punctuated by a punch through the parcours by Jason, who soared up the rise through Soulbury on lap three to claim the KOM prize.

With the KOM done, the pattern continued. Even a concerted effort between Neil and Richard Edwards of CC Luton with 2 to go up the rise out of Soulbury was given short shrift by the bunch. "I was surprised," recalls Neil. "We gave it everything over the crest of the hill, but there was barely 10 seconds. There were plenty of willing chasers - no allies in the bunch despite us both having team mates who would sandbag the surges."

Another go on the final lap and it seemed pretty clear a bunch finish was in prospect. Says Ian "It was time to buckle up and look at conservation." 

Neil parked himself near the front and surfed the front of the bunch, timing his final effort as best he could and edged out Ben Stowe of Hemel Hempstead CC in the last 20 metres or so: "Ben had done a lot of work in the last couple of K's,"he says. "But he was still strong and I knew I couldn't afford to underestimate him." Ahem, don't mention the age gap either.

how low can you go? Winning Sprint. And Grimace,

Tight behind the winning move, Ian followed to take 4th place behind Joel Stewart of Kenton. All in all, a very successful morning. 

Some great selective efforts by all our lot and perhaps worth mentioning that over a third of the field had been dropped by the end, which perhaps shows that the circuit is at least a little bit selective, even when the bunch cling together like limpets.

Commiserations to Chris Olley who was rear ended by another rider to take out his rear mech so he had to hitch a lift to the finish.

sensible expression, good presentation
2015 Jason expression. Well with a medallion like that...
questionable presentation. caption anyone?
Big thanks from our lot to the Lovelo Crew for putting on a new race within riding distance and doing such a slick job. Let's hope it's around for a few years to come. 

Given the profile of the inaugural event, we anticipate nothing less an after party headlined by, Annie Mac next year.

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